Podkayne Fries, a smart and determined maid of Mars, has just one goal in life: to become the first female starship pilot and rise through the ranks to command deep-space explorations. So when she is offered a chance to join her diplomatic uncle on an interstellar journey to distant Earth via Venus, it's a dream come true - even if her only experience with diplomacy is handling her brilliant but pesky younger brother, Clark.
But she's about to learn some things about war and peace, because Uncle Tom, the ambassador plenipotentiary from Mars to the Three Planets Conference, is traveling not quite incognito enough - and certain parties will stop at nothing to sabotage negotiations between the three worlds.
©2003 The Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Just reading a description of the story doesn't leave one excited to read it, but when you start listening, you find it hard to stop.
Podkayne is a girl who would be around 17 or 18 earth years old. See is very world-wise and people-wise for her age. She plans her long term goals and goes after them.
I'm a 64 year old man. I tend to think of Podkayne as a terrific daughter or granddaughter that I would be very proud of. If I did have a teenage or even pre-teenage granddaughter, I would see to it that she listened to this at least once, and hopefully more than once. Podkayne would be a very good roll model for any girl.
This starts as a very pleasant story that builds to a very exciting story. I think that if you got this book, you would be glad you did.
I enjoyed this story right up until the end when it seems like the producer walked in and said "You have 5 minutes. Wrap it up." It left me confused, surprised and a little mad. If not for the ending I would give the story 5 stars. Otherwise, it is a good listen and I will consider other books by Robert Heinlein. I did see other reviews where readers complained about the attitude towards women. I thought the author was pointing out social injustice, not endorsing it.
The narration was easy to understand but the different voices were hard to distinguish. That is why I only gave the performance three stars.
I know that this is not the original ending the author had planned but I still didn't like it. I do sense sexist undertones in the decisions of the heroine to abandon her calling to be a space pilot & embracing a love for babies, but I think it reflects the time it was written in. Overall an interesting book.
Emily Card did a wonderful job of characterizing Podkayne. She truly did. The reading of this novel called for a teenage girls voice using inflections as if she were conversing with a voice recorder or talking on a telephone. Ms. Card delivered splendidly. However, her talent as a reader may be limited in this respect. She could deliver a good performance with similarly themed science fiction books, and she might do really well reading chick-lit novels or perhaps classics like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, but her voice has too high of a pitch to embody masculine characters very well.
Enough criticisms about the reader. The book is one of my favorites. Heinlein's simple stories always entertain me completely. However, when I read this book a couple of years ago; I read a Baen paperback copy and I believe that there was an alternate ending to the novel. I may be wrong, maybe it was another book that offered an alternative ending. Perhaps it was the one with the two telepathic twins, or maybe "Tunnel in The Sky". But I didn't like the ending to this book. It was too sad and left too much unanswered. If you want to understand what I am talking about then buy the book and listen for yourself.
I think this is a very good book--how it's written and comes to it's surprising ending. The author does a great job of making the reader want to see Earth from a Mars-men perspective.
The overall theme that women should stay at home and raise children, and that is what women should naturally like to do and are best at doing, is a bit 1800s. Though perhaps I missed the point somewhere, feel free to explain!
real Heinlien fans know whats up. this book does not contain the ORIGINAL ending and, as he pointed out to his editor who insisted on this rewrite, the new ending ruins the moral of the story.
Heck yes. The book itself is one of Heinlein's juvies, with a plucky heroine and her mad genius of a little brother. I bought it for my daughter to listen along with forgetting that the Juvies were meant for Tweens/teens with a matching vocabulary. So I listened to it by myself.
And absolutely loved it. The narrator was flat out perfect. I don't know what voice I have in my head for her when I read this, but it's Emily Card from now on.
The book is awesome. It's basically a travelogue that is mostly character driven, with the plot only showing up in Act III. Don't care, it's a fun journey.
I wish I knew, so I could buy those as well. Obviously Heinlein's other juvies, but no idea. Given that YA is so huge right now, I don't know why this isn't huge.
She IS Poddy. She nails the voice.
Three planets, two kids, and one mad genius of a brother,
It ranks as very good, but it's soda pop, not scotch.
If Starship Troopers is a home run, this is a standing double.
Emily has a completely unaffected voice that is easy to listen to. It perfectly matched the innocent and excited voice of the books heroine through who's eyes the story is told.
It was amusing and fun, save for the ending, which was a bit abrupt for me. Our heroine spends all her time studying spaceships and it seems that should have come into play at the end. Also, the message at the end seemed out of place in an otherwise fun read.
This is one of my favorite coming of age stories -- where you hear the thoughts of a young girl as told to her diary. The narrator does a great job of having different voices that enhance the story.
"No real climax."
Although the storyline was interesting and well paced I felt that the end had come rather sooner than it should and I didn't feel there was a climax point in the story. It just sort of ends. Bizarre.
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